What to Do With Frizzy Gray Hair?

Do you notice that as the gray hair comes in your hair is changing its texture? Is it getting rough and frizzy? One of my readers Melissa thinks so. She wrote in to ask about this annoying hair problem, so I turned this challenge over to Fabulous After 40 hairstylist Chris Maclachlan. Here’s Melissa’s dilemma in her own words.


Melissa: I have thick, straight, sandy blonde hair. It tends to be heavy, and that means nobody. When I grow it out, I tend to have NO body whatsoever, and now, I have what I think is called an inverted bob, and while there’s some, it’s still not much and winds up getting in my face.

crazy gray hairs

Meanwhile, the gray that is coming in seems to be very crinkly. I have very healthy follicles, never using products or blow dryers, etc. And now, I seem to have a lot of frizz on my top layer of hair. That’s what I’m asking about. This new frizz that I never had before, as well as the impossible gray wire, after years of healthy, never-been-colored, teased or blow-dried, beautiful hair.

Thanks! Melissa Robinson, age 42

Hi Melissa,

Grey hair is almost always a different texture than your natural color, often wiry and unruly. I would suggest a Light brown semi-permanent color that will blend the grey and soften it. Semi-Permanent color will not lift your natural color, so you can not go lighter with a semi.

Women often find it hard to know what color to dye it but if you put a semi on that is your natural color or lighter, it will blend the grey (color it) and give the rest of your hair some tone and shine. A darker color than your natural will give you a darker color overall, as well as blend the grey. Slightly darker and warmer will be flattering to your skin tone. If you are up for it, I would suggest something like this style worn by Ashley Judd.

The great thing about a semi is there is no commitment, no damage, and no grow-out, and the lighter hair will stay lighter, giving you natural highlights. It will fade naturally in about 2-3 months. The less you shampoo, the longer it will last.

As for your dense straight, thick hair, I think you should count yourself lucky and go with it !!! Many women struggle every day to get that look. If you want more volume, you can go with a few different options. You could get highlights that will blend and cover some grey with the added benefit of roughing up the cuticle a bit (damaging your hair, but just a little !!) but also giving you more volume.

Also, a razor cut can give you a bit more texture to the ends, making it look more attractive, but I would stay with something classic and sharp, and suitable for heavy straight hair. That being said, one thing that will become a must for you is blown drying, and using some volumizing products. I also think you should either grow out your bangs or make them thicker, as well as go a little shorter overall.

katie holmesHere are 2 looks to try. Katie Holmes wears a classic bob with bangs and a little texture in the ends.

pixieish bob, razored_

This next one I would do with a razor, and it’s a lot shorter but cute, and I think it would suit your face shape better.

Good luck and let me know how it turns out. Chris

Chris Maclachlan is a top hairstylist with over 15 years of experience in the industry. She is passionate about helping all woman find their style and feel their best, no matter age, shape, or size.

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13 thoughts on “What to Do With Frizzy Gray Hair?

  1. Lady, I have the same problem. Never dyed; I don’t want to. I’m 36 and almost all grey. When I cut my hair, it just goes bonkers, and when I shampoo daily, it’s a mess. It’s not yellow, so blueing shampoo is pointless. I have henna’d it before, but the red is a bit silly, although my hair is softer. I look better with grey, but the frizz is all over the place! Maybe oil? Some detangling product? I think the “expert” seriously missed the point. Dyed hair looks…DYED!! I’ll figure out the frizz, thanks—nothing goofier looking than a 60+-year-old woman with ink dumped on her head.

  2. I didn’t see where the texture issue was addressed. I color my hair which helps with the grey texture, but I only have grey on the top of my head. That leaves the top layer frizzy and witch-like. Blow drying makes it worse. I have tried many products claiming to tame the frizz, but nothing works. My hair stays wet from a shampooing 1/2 the day, so flat ironing it out. Am I just cursed with ridiculous-looking hair? :(

    1. I want to say exactly what you did!! The texture issue was not mentioned …that’s what I wanted to find out.. what to do with the texture, frizzy curly of control grey.

  3. I am 50, and I have fine color-treated hair. Over the years, I have been weaving blonde streaks added sparingly to my curly frizzy hair, and I have now started to cover the gray. When I would blow-dry and smooth/flatten it out, if there were no humidity or rain, it would last up to 3 days with a little touch-up and look pretty. Now it is unruly, frizzier, has breakage, and is impossible to style no matter what products to protect, smooth, and straighten I have used. It dawned on me that it has changed texture negatively. I had done a Keratin straightening a few times a couple of years ago, but the breakage and damage appear to be worse. The best description now for my hair is ugly. I don’t know what to do with it. Trying to grow it long to give it weight isn’t helping, nor is it looking smooth and pretty like it used to. My grey hr is smokey, dirty looking, unlike some people’s gray color.

  4. Just because hair goes grey doesn’t mean you must race for the chemicals. Softening grey fur was the issue, not coloring it. I colored my hair and lost half of it instantly. No way would I color now. Let the women that want to go grey do it gracefully.

  5. What a lot of waffles. The woman didn’t answer the relevant question: WHAT to do with grey wire? HOW to treat it so it won’t be wiry, and most importantly, WHY does it go that way?

  6. I often use a thermal hair protecting product (mousse or lotion) and then use a hot flatiron/straightener to smooth the top layer of my hair to make it smoother. Deep conditioning also helps. Also, smooth down the flyaways with a flexible hold hairspray. Some people use a toothbrush and hairspray for this. There are sprays to disguise the roots in between colorings, like Gray Away or Rita Hazan, and hair mascara. Use rubber gloves for these touches to keep my hands and nails clean (quick but messy!).

  7. These are great color and style tips, but specific product tips (brands and actual products and recommendations would have been helpful. Good shampoo, conditioner, masks, and styling products to return the frizz would have put this article over the top.

  8. Why is the solution always color your grey? I have spent two years growing it out, and I love it!
    I would like to see answers to enhance grey hair.

    1. I had the same problem when my gray hair came in for a while. My smooth straight hair was getting rough and straw-like. I tried so many different shampoos and conditioners with no luck. Hair oil (anyone on the market will work, I get mine from the Drugstore) that you put on after you wash your hair, just a couple of drops, helped a little, but I was still not happy with how it felt. Then I tried Mane n Tail shampoo & conditioner. You can buy it at Sally’s or the ” Wally World ” store. It has worked wonders, my hair is much softer and smoother, and people give me compliments on my hair again. It smells good; it’s cheap, my hair is excellent, and I’m going Gray Happily. Good Luck!

      1. Thank you so much for this information! I have never dyed my hair like you wanted to go gray gracefully. I am 78 years old and still have some of my brown hair coming through the gray. But there is all gray on either side of my face! It is so curly that it is embarrassing. I used some of the oil, but it didn’t help. I am going out to buy the”Mane&Tail”shampoo a.s.a.p.!!!
        Thanks so much for your help:)

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